CHESTERTON | Over a stretch of two minutes in the third quarter, Merrillville coach Amy Govert saw the team she knew her girls basketball team could be.
The other 30 minutes against Chesterton raised some suspicions.
"All it is is effort and we think we can just show up and not play," Govert said. "I'll find five players who are doing things right and go from there if I have to."
Merrillville's two-minute stretch included 10 points off of turnovers and turned a two-point deficit into a 20-point lead to beat Chesterton 69-42 in Duneland Athletic Conference action Friday.
Pirates sophomore forward Victoria Gaines scored a career-high 27 points and added eight rebounds, three blocks and three assists.
"She's the real deal," Chesterton coach Jack Campbell said. "She doesn't just shoot, she gets the rest of her team involved."
The Trojans held Gaines to 11 first-half points and took a lead as big as four in the first quarter.
Caroline Puntillo, who had 13 points at the half, led Chesterton with 20 overall.
"Chesterton played with great effort tonight," Govert said. "They get all the credit. In the first half, they did all they needed to to stop us."
Merrillville's second-half turnaround included eight steals in the third quarter -- part of 10 Chesterton turnovers -- including three steals from Pirates junior Myranda Harris.
Gaines scored 10 of her points in the third quarter.
"We talked as a team that we had to bring it up, bring the intensity up and step it up," Gaines said. "We didn't play to our full potential in the first half. When we came out in the second half, we played the full game."
Merrillville outrebounded the Trojans 41-11, including 22-5 in the first half.